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Storm King Interview – Primitivism, Accelerationism, and the Future of Capital

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Storm King is a tree-enthusiast, musician, and aspiring wrench in gears of accelerationism.

The portrait above [by @Olofhanvark] depicts Storm King in an undisclosed location, preparing to fire a slug through the gleaming dome of a twitching cyborg [circa 2058 ACE].

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Alright man, so… what’s your problem? Why aren’t you on-board the party-train to the cyber-hell eschaton?

Well, to be honest I actually dig the cyberpunk meltdown aesthetic, I just don’t think it would be very fun, or positive, to actually live through.

On a more serious note, I’ve noticed that the views people take of Capital run all the way from a transcendent teleological force, built into both the universe and humanity, to the mundane pig-in-a-top-hat capitalism.

I think that Capital has entered a mode of particularly grim and tortuous pathology since it manifested as the industrial system. Insofar as it is the driving force behind the industrial system’s domestication of man, it should be destroyed. Industrial techno-capital is a parasite.

I think – maybe – capital isn’t pathological if kept within certain limits. That’s basically Ted’s take [ed: Kaczynski], framed in accelerationist terms. We stop somewhere around the village blacksmith, organic agriculture, and mushroom-tripping in the waterfall nude. Universal teleology might as well be a unicorn.

So you don’t have to refute the teleological part if you put it that way. You present primitivist/luddite tendencies as sane moderation – the accelerationist’s Capital is dangerous and a conservative approach isn’t enough.

Yeah. That’s the rhetorical move.

I can deal with teleological vision of Capital too. That is actually a much simpler and more interesting discussion. Otherwise, look at it as a market intervention.

My big question – and the reason I moved away from Primitivism: What happens if you win? You’re trapped on Earth, one meteor away from human extinction.

It’s very unlikely, in my opinion, that Primitivism will win.

There will always be the fear and threat of extinction, especially if you are honest and acknowledge the epistemological and sensory limits that constrain your ability to fathom the depth and breadth of the threat: the type of world-destroying evils that threaten us without humanity having the slightest clue.

You mean the Fermi’s Paradox?

No, I mean Primitivism will not defeat Indsys [the Industrial System]. We’ll get a Linkolian event, probably centered around algae and phytoplankton die-off, causing precipitous oxygen-generation drop within fifty years, because of microplastic and oceanic acidification.

There are other candidates for catastrophe besides this one, but this is my favorite because it’s a technical and economic problem will be hard to drum-up money to fix. I have seen people go from avowed Faustians to eco-paranoia in real-time because of this one.

It’s too late for a multinational neo-luddite militant coup. Which is why all the pine tree bros are preppers, or should be. I have walked to our remote lake house with a compass and map. It was 35 miles. We could live the rest of our lives there. Lots of guns, tools, and food, plus a big-ass lake, part of a major river system. We have an entire family protocol that will govern our transition should we need to use it.

What would you do for protein if you ran out of bullets?

Fish. I know how to trap also, and several people in our group are ex-military. I can skin a buck and run a trotline. A country-boy can survive.

At some point I am going to learn how to make arrows the real way, and get more knowledgeable about the edible plants in our area. My wife is a naturalist too, and she’s quite good with herbalism. She cured my snoring with a tincture that goes on your feet.

If civilization collapsed tomorrow and the fish stocks returned you’d be living in paradise.

Yep. Pray to Yellowstone. Most of my family keep a 72-hour bag in the car at all times.

Ran Prieur has this thought experiment he calls “The Parable of the Tribes” – In a world made up of small tribes, how do you stop one tribe from developing dangerous tech? Small primitivist groups can’t police technology globally.

Well, Ted’s take – and I believe he’s right – is that the whole industrial system needs to run simultaneously to keep coasting. You may have spots where it lasts longer, but without all the international shipping, factory-fabricated parts, colleges, engineers, power grids, etc… it doesn’t persist. If techno-capital takes a good-enough critical hit, it can’t recover.

Here’s an example: how hard is it going to be to make a tungsten pipe weld when all the supply lines are fucked and you can’t mine it out? – or even do the metal analysis and processing required to verify and form it into a welding rod? You may be in the lucky area that keeps its power plant running, but for how long? One critical cooling line blows and it’s gone.

A mortal wound to the system will create an entropic cascade. How will you preform the necessary maintenance on infrastructure satellites with brigands about, and a inconsistent fuel supply? The breakdown of industrial connectivity exposes how weak and fragile it has become, paradoxically due to the intense inter-connectivity and self-reliance, over what should have been obviously-fragilizing distance.

The problem is the system’s “systemity” – how big and wide-sweeping it is. It’s not simply the tech itself, but the ubiquity: the cumulative generational effects of omnipresent psychological-conditioning and mass biological destruction. Post-collapse, isolated incidents of revived grids and such are possible – but on the level we have now? And with the accompanying level of poisonous effects? I’m certain, never again. It’s too fragile and integrated. Its a flash in the pan.

Moving on to some Twitter talk…. @ungeometer proposed “The Complex State-Vector of Acceleration,” where he proposes a mathematical model for prim vs acc:

“Capital is immanent in humanity, will never die while we populate the universe. We are its embodiment and substrate. Any serious decelerationist movement would have to be committed to the periodic suppression of capital’s ceaseless machinations.”

Your response?

The constant need to suppress capital can be dealt with, to a large extent, by making the second rise of industrial society impossible, as discussed above. This is may be mostly complete already, since many of the resources needed for a full-fledged resurgence have already been mined-out, and either won’t regenerate for millions of years or will become inaccessible.

But even with all this, I believe it’s worthwhile, in a post-industrial scenario, to go through constant mythogenesis and run a protective social-technology routine. I don’t believe that humanity is inherently the substrate of capital to a near-total degree – as is often said – but it might as well be nowadays, because humanity is domesticated, weak, and spiritually-degenerated.

In this discussion @chernobylski replied with several arguments, best found here. The most pertinent is below:

Capital is {narrowly} a network that seeks any and all arbitrage and expands itself by eliminating it. For sufficiently large amounts of people not to spawn one, considering universe/all is inherently inflatory, is impossible, unless they agree to (maybe eventual) extinction.

Your response?

Capital is being identified with a universal teleology – or a large necessary element of humanity – which basically makes it unavoidable. I’m not sold on this. Even if so, it’s a project of supreme importance to frustrate it, given the ongoing destruction and the existential threat it poses.

I’m also not convinced that capital is necessarily bad and destructive until it gets into the global-industrial mode that it’s been in. Perhaps at a certain level it’s something that’s actually good. Perhaps if you frustrate the Terminator you can get Avatar.

From what I’ve seen so far, this account of accelerationism is a kind of materialism of the transcendentally emergent. It isn’t fashionable to talk about the natural, spiritual, or unmolested biological vectors for progression to singularity, which gives it a narrowed vision.


A natural and spiritual singularity?

I was struck by the fact that the ACC posters couldn’t get their minds off of technics (or technology, or the industrial system) as the primary means by which capital must do what it’s going to do. That’s only one way capital could pursue its “goals” or that the singularity could manifest.

Lets say that everything is accelerating and capital is in everything – that it’s part of the teleological order of the universe – that it’s inescapable. If you got rid of the part in humans that “capital is” you’d have useless husks. So capital is all-sweeping, omnipresent, like a god.

If it really is that powerful, then technics is not the only way that it can pursue its goal, and it isn’t necessary to remove it from humanity. There’s absolutely no reason that you couldn’t destroy the industrial system, and have capital continue on through what is left.

The goal this serves is that you stop the extremely destructive activity that capital performs when it manifests as the industrial/technological system – and you don’t fucking destroy the planet.

But if the techno-industrial system collapses on itself as you expect, what happens to humans ten million years from now? 

Who knows! Could be anything. It’s hard for me to speak on this. I’m mostly focused on this round of humanity and the coming break points, which will determine the trajectory of what comes after and probably for a very long time.

Seeding other worlds seems like an important step in the preservation of life. If we remain on Earth, aren’t we left in a permanent state of existential risk?

To exist in this reality is to be in a permanent state of existential risk. But if we can develop to the point where we can have the technology to seed planets without generating an existential threat, or Kaczynskian consequences from the tech itself, then I’m all for it.

Does Christianity persist in the aftermath of Capital’s collapse?

Yes. This question could fill a whole ‘nother interview it’s so interesting. Acceleration’s capital is basically Satan when you view this from Christian typology. It all fits. It fits to a spooky degree…

I have also noticed a big faction of guys on twitter who are explicitly Christian neo-luddites. It makes sense, considering the constant refrain we hear about capital as the universal solvent of traditional social arrangements. I really like these guys.

How do you square your art with your ideology? You are making retro-futuristic synth-wave with primitivist themes – and it’s been played in clothing boutiques in China! You have to thank Capital-Death for that.

T-thank you, Capital-kun!!!!!! There’s an neat tension between the medium and the message in my music. Personally, I think its more interesting than your typical ecomusic with it’s folky banjo milieu. It’s a good medium for cautionary tales of a shitty future, where everything is on fire but a machine will suck your dick.

What inspired the style-shift in recent tracks? Your latest song “Dead Ocean, One Race” has an organic, tropical sound grafted on to the synthwave sound.

Part of this was my completely-legal copy of LuSH-101, which has a bunch of good sounds that fit that. But honestly, I just make what comes. Dan Terminus’s last album had me really wanting to explore flute sounds so I did that here. The tropical vibe was an accident and I added the nature sample at the beginning after demoing the track for people and getting a bunch of feedback saying it was beachy.

Do you have any advice for young people today?

Get married young, learn survival skills, read old books, meditate every day – no matter what, lift weights, do not sleep on surfaces that aren’t electrically grounded, buy my music, don’t be a sex pervert, don’t watch porn, protect your telomeres, don’t waste all your time at work, don’t be a materialist, realize your limits, rest your astral haunches in the quiescent core of being and don’t be epistemologically arrogant. You don’t know. You don’t even know that you don’t know.

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You can follow Storm King on Twitter @linkolawave, listen to his album on Lovecrypt, and hear the latest on his personal Bandcamp page here.

 

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